No Attacks Within RC!

Tim Jackins

My announced topic is "correcting and protecting leadership." I'd like to switch the order of that. I'll talk about protecting leadership first and then talk about correcting leadership. Correcting is Important but it is not of the first importance in this period.

Throughout the years of RC, every so often, there have been attacks on the leadership of the Community. These attacks have taken various forms.

An attack is always based on the most restimulating topic available, because attacks won't work unless they restimulate people. Attacks don't blossom into attacks if no one pays attention. So, attacks will be about money, will be about sex, will be about politics, something that is sure to restimulate enough people that there is a chance for disruption.

Everyone has a feel for what attacks are (laughter). Everyone knows. The reason they know is what happened to them in their childhood. Children are attacked—a lot. They have few ways to defend themselves. Currently in western societies you can turn on the television and see, every day, scores of live film coverage of real attacks. You can also see thousands of renditions of the troubled fantasies of the filmmakers about attacks, any time you turn the knob. As a result of our personally being witnesses and targets of real attacks and of these secondhand fantasies, virtually all of us are terrified about attacks. We spend a great deal of our time trying to not be aware of them and hoping they will go away by themselves and never come back again, without their ever coming near us at all.

One of the first things we must recognize as a leader is that they do not go away, they will not stay away from you. If you have any sort of life that is close to what you want for yourself, you are going to be at least close to attacks, if not the object of an attack. If you show you have resources and take on leadership to make the things happen that you want to have happen, you will be "validated" in your leadership by an attack. One way of picturing attacks is that they are attempts by a desperate person to get help on material that he or she is unable to find any other resource for. If you picture any attack coming at you as this sort of attempt, you can understand it. There's a person desperately lost in the distress, who is trying to get somebody to pay enough attention to it, because nobody has, and hoping that maybe there'll be some help. All of us have so many distresses around attacks that we don't often picture them that way. Or if we do picture them that way, we do it in a sympathetic, permissive listening-to-the-attack-forever way, hoping that that will somehow drain it.

An attack is not an attempt to correct mistakes. It often masquerades as that. This is a place that we all can get confused. We can also confuse a well-meant attempt to correct mistakes (or perceived mistakes) with an attack. When a real attack comes along we may think perhaps it is a well-meant attempt to correct perceived mistakes. The effect of an attack is never to correct mistakes. The effect of attacks is always to destruct, to restimulate all those who have not gotten enough work done discharging their hurts in the selected areas and to generally disrupt the functioning in the Co-Counseling Communities. In particular, these attacks essentially suspend Co-Counseling activity. People cannot remember, cannot have enough attention to go on doing the work they want and have chosen to do, because of the restimulation of the attacks. We must always recognize this difference.

Now people do think mistakes are made. Mistakes are made. It is almost part of your job as leader to make mistakes. Part of your job as leader is to keep trying new, difficult things, to keep stretching yourself enough that there is a chance of error. You have to, if you want to accomplish all the things you think about accomplishing. You have to be stretching yourself out of the safety zone, and there is a chance of mistakes. That's perfectly correct. Somebody needs to make those mistakes, so that they can be learned from, can be corrected and gone on from.

Someone personally having a question about a mistake and being worried about it and trying to figure it out is much different from a person making an attack. Trying to figure things out as a private concern switches over into an attack when it goes "public." It becomes a public position, where someone, usually through restimulation, is trying to gain adherents to a position. Almost always the position is against someone. It is a very personal thing; any issue that was there to begin with quickly fades and the attack is about someone.

Any time you get a slight whiff of that, you need to remember that that is an attack. It is not an attempt at correcting mistakes, and it needs to be handled differently. When someone is trying to figure out perceived mistakes, they can to be listened to, they can be counseled. You can use all the tools of counseling and sometimes you can be effective. Sometimes you can get them through this. However, sometimes it switches over to an attack, for whatever reason. Maybe it's due to a lack of counseling that it doesn't resolve. (I don't think anyone need blame themselves, however, that they didn't counsel this person well enough or they would not have mounted this attack.) For whatever reason, once it switches, it becomes a public attempt to gain support for a position of attacking a person. It does not matter who the person attacked is, it doesn't matter even if they're not in leadership. (That doesn't tend to happen. [laughter]  You need to know that very few unknown people are attacked [lots of laughter].)

(There's another connection here with the other half of this topic, the correction of leaders. We have leaders who get lost and wander away, sure that their mistakes are not mistakes but rather clear thinking. Oddly enough, very few of those leaders are the ones that are attacked. There's some odd correlation here. [laughter] People that are stuck on strange things don't get attacked for them. They Just wander off in this way.)

When someone has crossed this line and is mounting an attack, it must be handled differently. You can be understanding of the distress in there that needs to be worked on, you can wish they had all the resource in the world to work on it, you can wish they had had it before this point, but their behavior cannot now be handled sympathetically. The behavior is destructive to their getting help with that material. Very few people that in desperation cross this line and start attacking manage to attract the resource necessary to work on the distresses involved in that attack. The attack alienates resource and restimulates everyone so much, that even the people they can pull with them are not able to help them with what pushed them to this point. Your trying to, in good heart, with good intent, simply counsel them, in our experience has not been effective. It is also destructive of leadership to simply do that, and it is very confusing to the Communities.

In our experience, what is necessary is that the attack be interrupted. The person or persons involved in the attack must cease that behavior. To offer someone counseling support without a commitment from them to stop that behavior immediately has not been effective. (It has been effective, on some rare occasions, to interrupt the person's playing out of the attack as a condition for offering them extra resource in working on the material. This has seemed, in effect, to put enough question in their own minds about it that they're able to more effectively work on it.)

Historically, in our Community, (or actually in any group), I know of no one who has ever handled attacks well. Maybe it has happened somewhere. They used to kill attackers in older times. (laughter) You can understand the appeal. (lots of laughter) It solves one part of the problem and it doesn't restimulate the same material. (laughter) We, however, being constrained by rationality, and law (laughter), have not attempted this solution (laughter).

By and large, most of us have not attempted any solution. We wished it to go away. Almost always it has fallen to the person who is the object of the attack to handle the attack. That's a mistake that the Community has repeated for a long time. It's understandable in a sense, but as we become more aware of the mechanisms involved in this, and, as we make more progress ourselves, it's something we cannot afford. It is very costly to the person who's attacked, because it leaves the impression that they are the cause of the attack, that the object of the attack is somehow responsible for it. That is a mistake. It is consistently a mistake. The person or persons attacked are not responsible for it, nor should they be responsible for handling the attack.

The attack in essence is an attack on the leadership of the Community and on the Community itself and on the work that the Community is doing. It is in all of our benefits that we each figure out how to handle these attacks ourselves, hopefully jointly, but if necessary singly. If we're in that position at that moment and we can handle the first response, we should go ahead and do that. We must not let our uncertainties make us hesitate. You know people in this room; though we are just beginning to look at actually trusting ourselves and each other, you understand more than you're able to put into practice yet. Most of us know that we have to do this collectively. We have to get good at handling attacks if any of us are going to be able to keep moving forward well.

There are many different things that I've seen stop people from attempting to handle attacks. The main one is being unsure, being so restimulated that you wonder if maybe there is a serious error on the part of the person being attacked even if the attack is incorrect. We know each other well enough to know that's not likely to be true. Anyone you have seen working hard for years to benefit many people deserves for you to hold off that bit of restimulation and take a stand for them, for yourself and the Community and our work. The moment when you are acting under the pull of restimulation is not a good time to try to "rethink" all of this again. The work and your decisions about it must be made ahead of time. This kind of situation will be back. There will be more attacks and you will need to handle them. You do need to work on it before then, because it is very hard to figure it out at that moment, especially if you haven't done any work discharging on where it gets hard for you.

As we learn to value each other as leaders and identify the growth and prosperity of each one of us with our own, I think this will become easier for us. We are still shaky about that. We still feel tremendously isolated from each other. People who count on each other secretly in sessions and work on that glimpse of that person smiling five years ago, and depend on it for lots of sessions still get confused. We have little glimpses of how important we are to each other, yet so far we have not yet consistently been able to use that to stand up in these battles against people attacking those who we know we cherish, who we value, who we know do excellent work that would not be done yet without them.

Here, too, if necessary, you have to take the chance of making a mistake. It may feel like that, standing up for someone in front of an attack that's headed their way. It will feel like you are perhaps being duped. (You will be accused of that, whether you feel it ahead of time or not. You'll get a chance to feel that way as they aim those charges at you.) It is still necessary that you go against those fears of being taken in and misled to interrupt this attack. The attack is incorrect, period. It is not an attempt at correction of mistakes. You have to differentiate that, and you have to stand up in front of attacks, no matter who's attacking.

Now, though the person attacking is doing it out of the distress, it is important that you not be naive about that. There are different mechanisms that cause attacks to occur. Some of the attacks might be close to naive: the person has no picture of the distress that they're lost in; they're just acting it out full speed, full throat. There are other attacks where the person who is mounting the attack knows well that they are mistaken and that they are misleading people and restimulating people and still they continue it. They continue with it, of course, on the basis of another distress. The familiar one you might be able to identify with is revenge, of getting even. You know, you've done irrational things, knowing they were irrational, because you felt like it, in the grip of some sort of getting even, another distress. There are lots of distresses that push people around in those ways, so that their behavior is not naive. They have some picture of what they are carrying out and you there at the moment have to try to figure out what's happening the best you can and handle it accordingly. Another common distress is a patterned attempt by the person to claim leadership and support by attacking someone who is leading and has support in the hope that the leadership and support will be given to the attacker 

There are, of course, larger forces outside of counseling that manipulate peoples' distresses to disrupt. For those of us who have been around certain progressive movements In the United States a favorite example is the government intelligence agencies. These hire people to go in and disrupt organizations; they are not trying to do anything else except attack leaders, disrupt in all sorts of ways, restimulate and confuse, and interrupt the work that goes on there. Those things can happen here in RC and may well have happened. It's important that we know these things can occur.

In every case we need to stand up to the attacks as soon as they occur. The longer you hesitate, the more people get restimulated, and the more work you have to do. You can have a long, long time of cleaning up after someone who has been allowed to dramatize their distress around the attack and restimulate lots of people. There will be restimulating attacks. They will keep coming. You have no escape. (laughter) I want you to understand that.

I want us to have a number of mini-sessions. Let's do the first one now. In this first one, I want you to work on you being attacked, and how scared you are. What will be you attacked for? What's the thing that would be hardest on you to have someone throw at you? Because of course the basis of the attack is not just restimulating for everyone else. Part of the reason attacks are effective is because they restimulate the person who is attacked and that throws enough "noise" into the situation to make it even more difficult for people to figure out what's happening. So would you do a five- minute mini-session, remembering what it felt like to be attacked? Start with the earliest you can remember, no matter how far back. If you can't remember an attack, consider what the next attack will feel like. (Mini-session)

Attacks bother you? (laughter) If they bother you, and if they're going to happen again, then, we need to do something. It's a lot like parents with children. Every day parents pray that their children will have outgrown certain distresses. They spend this big hunk of time "wishing" in all these different ways, to have one day free of this distress, instead of spending the time working on themselves and the young one's distresses so it doesn't ever hap- pen again. That's essentially what we need to do—figure out what to do, how we can make the change. It is hard on us; it is going to happen; and we have to change something.

We have to work on the material that I hope you couldn't avoid in that mini-session. We need to go ahead and spend a lot of time doing that. If the success of this project is what you want, it is necessary that you do that. There's no way to avoid that. No amount of prayer is going to save you from this.

It's also necessary that you help the leaders around you to do this. This needs to become part of the understanding of the Communities earlier and earlier in someone's membership in the Community. We finally figured out that we needed to squeeze policy about this into the last page of the Guidelines. It took a little while for that to occur to us. The policy is there for all members of the Community. As we do this work, learning to handle attacks, we must also have it become part of the climate of the Communities to see that attacks are not allowed to get off the ground. We must be ready to handle them. They will occur from outside forces, if not from inside ones. We must push everyone who is a member of the Community to work on the distress that lets attacks occur. That means talking about it fairly early in people's membership in the Community, in the second fundamentals class or something like that. One of the things that we should be able to count on in this Community is being safe from attack and we are expected to maintain that for everyone else in the Community as well. That is part of what we're trying to accomplish here.

Julian: I'd like to hear your thinking on different forms of attacks. There's the obvious one that's public and organized. There are also underground, subterranean attacks, or gossiping and divisiveness that doesn't ever become known to the person who's being attacked. I'd like to hear your thinking about that.

Tim: Okay, let me say a little on that. This is related to the requirement we make of people to cease attacks. How then do they work on this material? One of the things that Julian mentioned is that attacks go on under the guise of "counseling on the distress." They use the form of a session to have a captive audience to pass the restimulation on to. A great many things wiggle around in the subterranean recesses, a lot of restimulations flow through sessions and never get out where a teacher or leader of the Community has a chance to do anything about them.

After an attack is interrupted, or as things are more thoroughly understood in the Community, when people simply have material they need to work on that would have led to an open attack, an understanding has to be gained that to act out the material in a session is not the same as counseling and discharging on it. To simply portray how upset you are and try to rationalize it is not going to get you through that distress. Depending on who your Co-Counselor is, it may very well restimulate them enough that they go on and do that too. Things just reverberate, just bounce and bounce and bounce for a long time. Often, as Julian says, somebody who knows better never has a session with one of these people, and so it never comes out where some better judgment can be used, where some action can be taken, until it's festered, until it's got a lot of people restimulated.

We have to sharpen up our definition of counseling. There are a lot of sessions that are very strange that don't really lead to discharge, or to people making gains, that aren't questioned. We have to talk more about what works in counseling to discharge distresses versus simply rehearsing them. We say this every so often. Every few years the issue comes up and we talk about it some, but then the clarity disappears. We are so thankful in fundamentals classes to have people talking at all to each other. We are satisfied too easily. We don't keep people getting sharper and sharper in their Co-Counseling as much as we could.

Diane, do you have things you'd like to add?

Diane: The only thing that I've thought about that might be added is that there are general patterns that run for particular groups. We've detected certain patterns, for instance, that owning-class people have. Each owning class person is very, very dear but often they have patterns of taking over and we can't be naive about that. It doesn't mean that we judge a person beforehand but that we have enough experience to see that particular set of patterns at work.

Some of the most restimulating attacks, of course, have been on Harvey mound female oppression. I think there is a general pattern that women share (it's almost the key pattern that we are beginning to detect) which is our refusal to take charge of everything. In particular, women have a patterned pull not to take charge of our relationships with men and to blame them instead for our difficulties. I think there's been a tendency to want Harvey particularly to be the counselor on that issue for us. The way that some women have approached it is to blame him for that difficulty in a way that's been highly restimulating to everyone within the Communities. I think we can sharpen our counseling on particular issues when a group of patterns becomes clear to us.

Also, just because an attack is voiced in the name of victimization, don't accept it as real. A major piece of female oppression is to always pretend we're the innocent victim, to pretend that anything that has happened is not our doing, we're not responsible for it, and we have been the victim, because we have historically been oppressed. I think that that particular naive pattern has been rehearsed by many women about leaders. It has misled other women. I've come to the position that if there are attacks being organized, particularly by women who are in leadership, they need to be dealt with by other women. Women have to take responsibility for handling these attacks. Women have to quit pretending that we're naive people who are not responsible for our actions and the damage that is done to our Community. We can't buy into our own timidities and fears.

Tim: Others who would like to add?

Joan: I want you to say more about Julian's question or repeat what I've heard you say before. (Tim: You do it.) Essentially it's how you counsel people who say they would like to discharge on feelings relating to attack, who then go into session and rehearse their distress and spread the restimulation. We need to require instead that they not confuse the past with the present, that they not talk about it or work on it as if it's present-time reality, which it isn't. I just had an experience with a woman recently who didn't know what a particular attack reminded her of. I kept asking her, "What does the situation remind you or" She was somewhat open to working early supposedly, but didn't appear able to do it. I just persisted. I had to say many times, "This is not the present; this must come from something early, just give me your first thought." And we eventually found the early distress that had been restimulated. So I think it takes being non-permissive as counselor, requiring that people find out what is the early restimulation and work there. We need to remember that of course it is earlier distress. 

Tim: Yes, it is not useful to be a permissive counselor at that moment. The client, as clients always do, tries to lay out the material. Sometimes the way they do it is awful. It's the counselor's job to figure it out and make it more workable. That is an important distinction between acting out distress in the present as if it were present reality versus what we know really solidly—that all of these things have roots way back. We need to get the client to look back there.

I think generally the experience of people has been not as good as Joan's in that particular incident. The longer the attack goes on, the harder it is for the person to question the restimulation and actually try to discharge the upset. The more frozen they get into "needing to be right," the less able people have been to counsel them, and the more non-permissive and sharp a counselor they need to have. Such counselors are not plentiful yet.

Kathy: One other thing I've noticed in dealing With this is that people who are trying to counsel the person who was attacking and has been interrupted by someone else, will switch the subject to how poorly the person interrupted the attack. It's important to say, "That doesn't really matter, that's irrelevant. You were attacking, and just because somebody didn't interrupt your attack perfectly does not give you a basis for continuing the attack." We are still naively sweet and nice and caring. We feel bad when somebody is been made to feel bad. We need to be careful not to get pulled into sympathy but instead stand firm on stopping the attack rather than on making apologies for somebody not doing it well. Many of us won't do it well. That's okay. That's how we learn. We need to stand up for each other's right to make mistakes and handle the attacks and not get pulled off the issue. 

Tim: You need to be ready to make as big a mess as is necessary for you to make in trying to handle the attack. That will be a distinct improvement in the situation. You may not be able to tell at the time, but the fact that you attempted, against whatever distresses hold you down, to interrupt an attack is very important for you, for that person, and for everyone who knows about it. Over and over again, people are used to going timid and helpless. To see one person dare to attempt to handle an attack, even to not handle it well, but just attempt to, is very, very heartening to others.

Konnie: Sometimes when someone is trying to stand up for herself but feeling powerless she doesn't do it very gracefully. Therefore it can come out as a negative criticism of somebody. If there is someone who is doing something that's not helpful and somebody stands up to try to interrupt that and in the process of doing that obviously is restimulated and ends up criticizing, my assumption has been that we're all responsible for how we act. Though we're restimulate and though we're not responsible for the distress, we are responsible for our actions now. It is tricky to figure out how to interrupt patterns that are oppressive.

Tim: And it is messy. We will make lots of mistakes figuring this out, and there's nothing I can tell you that you can be sure of when you face your first attack. But handling it rests on somebody having judgment, somebody trying to think about it, recognizing something is not right and attempting to correct it.

Will someone of us in our zeal interrupt things that are not attacks? That would be refreshing. (lots of laughter) I will be happy to come help you patch that up. But yes, this is not clear-cut. It is not going to be. And yet, we have to move.

Diane: Often people who launch an attack against a leader will use a leader's alleged pattern as an excuse. There is no excuse for launching an attack on a leader; The issue of whether the leader has a pattern or not is a very, very separate issue. I don't think you can get confused about that.

April: I think that one thing that comes up often in workshops, around the issue of race, is an attack on the leader of the group: that the leader is racist and therefore there's something going wrong and until that is addressed nothing else can work. I think it's important that people realize it is not a help for people of color to allow such a dramatization of a hurt, instead of counseling, and that it is appropriate to go on with the workshop. You need to be clear that those feelings need to be dealt with in a caucus of people of color. It's not helpful to allow something like that, to allow an attack on a leader like that.

X—: Many people arrived late today for this class. I consider that inappropriate and it feels to me like an attack on your leadership in as much as It undermines your thinking as you speak and are interrupted by the door. I think of the small, unaware things we do that under- mine each other's work.

Tim: Yes, but I don't consider that an attack. Nothing personal. They do it all the time. (lots of laughter)

Keith: Would you please redefine attack? As people talk, it sounds like it's anything that's a feeling that happens to be aimed at someone who's visible. I get confused at what point is it an attack that has to be dealt with now, as opposed to a confusion that can be handled in a session where there's room for the feelings, with a counselor who has judgment, where there's resource.

Tim: The distinction I was trying to make has to do with taking a public position and trying to gain support for it. I think that's a clear place where you can say it has become an attack. Maybe there's an earlier place to draw the line, I don't know.You have to figure and think it out as you hear about it, but I think once itreaches that point, you need have no hesitation at all. When it is being played out as reality, not counseled on, and attempts are made to get other people to agree, that is an attack.

Another man: I think the last answer made it clear for me because! think it's a different thing when a person just gets very angry at you. Then you usually know to handle it—just staying calm and listening to them. (Tim: Yes.) But that's a situation where they don't want everybody else to agree with them, they are Just mad at you.

Tim: Right. And staying calm may not be the best way even then. (Previous man: Whatever works.) Yes.

Charlie: I've also been noticing that the attack on a person then gets rapidly transferred to an attack on 'the organization, with this dynamic that if we can just restimulate enough people, then we can call upon democracy to get a majority vote, and the most people who are restimulated must be right.

Tim: It also has happened and continues to happen that once the basis of restimulation has been established, other groups outside of counseling use it to try to restimulate people inside counseling. You don't have a great deal of power over other organizations, officially, but it doesn't mean that that can't also be opposed actively and loudly.

Dorothy: There was one situation where I called all former RC teachers who had dropped out and had a gather-in with them and discovered that one of them, because I hadn't seen her for a very long time, was on the verge of launching a very public attack on the RC organization. Other times I've heard by the grapevine that somebody was saying bad things, but this person was right in front of me. In that case, I made the judgment to give that person some intensive resources to see if we could head this off and also because I cared about her. She was caught in something awful. We gave her a one-day intensive. $he didn't rejoin the RC Community, but the attack was dissipated. As far as I know, she's going on with her life and has not pursued the attack. But that might not have worked, I mean that was luck. 

Diane: So far, the small groups that have spun off from RC are fueled by painful emotions seemingly directed towards us. That's who they focus on because they still want our resource. My experience is that as long as any unclarity exists with us, we remain in trouble. We need to make it clear to them that they are not admitted to the resource of our Community or our attention. It needs to be said directly that what they're doing is not Re-evaluation Counseling; they're not welcome into the Community, and we will not tolerate poor attitudes towards us. Even if they continue as a group, they tend not to grow, because other people realize very quickly that they're fueled by revenge patterns and they don't want any part of it.

Tim: You can say, "We won't forget either." (laughter) (Diane: That's a good addition.) My experience with other organizations is that most of them have attacks going on frequently, and it's always disruptive of the organization. It always limits their effectiveness because much of the time people are too upset by the attacks to actually do the work they're in the organization for. This is a general problem, it isn't just our problem. People have not figured out that attacks are that disruptive nor found a better way to handle things.

Woman: In my experience, people who make attacks are people who started out in counseling trying to get a hand with distress about somebody else. They were counseling complainingly about their spouse or they were counseling in a blaming way about a sister or a brother or somebody close to them. We have not trained our Co-Counselors well from the very beginning to help clients step out of powerlessness and handle the person they complain about lovingly, thoughtfully, warmly, or move in with good counseling of the person. We've often let a person stay in the victim role and rehearse it like that, "my husband's so bad, my husband's so bad," instead of being the kind of counselors that say, "How do you need to move in lovingly and through the patterns to the human being? "If you train people in the beginning, in fundamentals classes, not to collude and not to be permissive with that kind of powerlessness, it doesn't escalate.

Judy: One of the things I've been doing at incest workshops is encouraging people to get in touch with their rage. I'm seeing that a lot of the distress coming as attacks really goes back to the incest issue. That's a place where people are coming from a victim position and it's very easy to act the distress out at RC leaders and other people who are in positions of authority. It needs again to go back to the session, to what happened in the incest.

Keir: Thinking about us as a group, the majority of RCers tend to be white, middle-class adults, and that is quite important in terms of attacks because that tends to be a group who are not good at decisively dealing with them. Other groups, very often oppressed groups, like young people and working-class people, are better at this and we can learn from those people. For example, young people in gangs will have a whole load of internalized oppression running between each other, and make nightmarish attacks on each other, but as soon as you attack that gang, they'll close ranks very fast and you won't get them. I think we should learn from that, that however we've been treating each other, as soon as that attack happens we clear it away.

Tim: As was mentioned, some people have had success going out after people and stopping them, but I think our first order of business is to strengthen ourselves so that we are not vulnerable to easy restimulations by attacks. That means talking about these issues, about attacks, early in someone's counseling. It needs to be a topic in classes, at workshops. Everyone needs a chance to work on this material, to lead the lives they want to outside of counseling. As many said, attacks don't just occur here. If you take leadership in other organizations, you're in for it. If you do well and look like you can handle things, you will be attacked.

I think if we begin facing how scared we are and how uncertain we feel at those moments and working on all the distresses that have us in this condition, that little mailings from outside will not be as troubling as they have been. I know a number of people have found that the best thing to do is not to respond to the mailings at all and then they stop. If you answer back at all, you get more. More and more mailings, on forever, if it looks like there's any response from you. That is, if you've been restimulated at all, then you will get more, not - because they're thoughtful about it, just because their distress is looking for another one to hook onto and continue.

Correcting Leaders

We need to go on and talk about the next piece of this. The other piece is the correcting of leaders. Assume you've done wrong. (laughter). Well, we do make mistakes. And that's perfectly all right. It is necessary. For us to move at any speed at all, we have to make some mistakes and learn from them and continue. That is the main way that people gain information and understanding about situations and what we are doing is so complex, that we're going to have to do that. We don't have time to go slow and careful forever. Making mistakes is not really a problem. 

The problem is when the mistakes get stuck with the person, where the mistakes are not recognized as mistakes or must be defended as if they were not mistakes. Even if the person is not comfortable with what they did, they can get frozen in a position where they identify themselves with that particular policy, or event, or something. A number of times we have had people get lost in these particular ways and isolated to the point where they're not functional as leaders. They're not of assistance to anyone in the Communities nor are they providing any force to the Community's growing or gaining in knowledge or ability. A few years after that, when it's generally recognized that we have a problem, often the person simply must leave, not just leadership, but the Communities. They are so wedded to the mistake that they cannot detach themselves from it; they cannot question it. And they feel they must leave trumpeting the correctness of that particular thing.

We've bad this happen. We've had this happen several times. We will probably have it happen again. Some of those lead into attacks on the Community, into the things we've been talking about. All of them have a bit of that flavor, but many of them don't get very far. I think those happen because of our isolation. We are not able to stay in good enough contact with each other in particular ways to help each other when we get stuck. And we do get stuck. You get stuck. I get stuck. You know there are days when you are not that functional (laughter) and if you were asked for a policy at those moments (laughter), it would be unfortunate for anyone who asked, for anyone that heard it. It would be unfortunate for you if you felt you had to then defend what you had said. (laughter) That does happen to us. And it happens to people who are, as near as any of us could tell, very well meaning, trying hard, have done good work (as near as we could tell), and yet they get that lost and end up playing maybe minor, destructive roles and then wandering off hurt and alone. 

I don't think that could happen unless nobody was noticing, unless those individuals did not have anyone who was in good enough contact, not just friendly listening contact, but in good enough contact to understand who they were and what their struggles were. Now, maybe some still would, but I don't think so. I'm sure at least we could cut this loss down if we could accomplish more contact in these ways.

Historically, all RC leaders depended on the International Reference Person to keep track of them, to keep track of their distresses, where they had difficulties, little daily reports (laughter). That worked well for a short while. And it worked fairly well for quite a long while It worked because the International Reference Person kept track of those people and their struggles. Somebody actually knew what that person was struggling with, somebody who would not hesitate to be a very non-permissive counselor, to say things that needed to be said, even if the person was not interested in hearing them.

There are too many RC leaders currently for that way of handling things to be depended on. Yet we haven't recognized that it's very important to everyone, especially leaders, to have someone in that good contact, someone who is thinking about them, not forgetting even their old restimulations for very long, and being willing to talk straight to the person about how they saw their struggles and their difficulties and how they were getting lost in their distresses. I think this is something that we have to take on. We have to decide to do this. We know It does work. A lot of us know because it worked for us, to have someone think that way, to have the International Reference Person think that way about us, to keep track of us, to be that available to us. We need to figure out how we can begin playing that role more and more fully in keeping track of each other.

Now, we haye to assume that we could get as lost as others have been. They sat in groups like this. (laughter) Just like this. And worked as hard. Tried everything you tried. And yet got lost. You can't assume that somehow, because we are here, we are immune. There's not strong evidence for that. (laughter) It may be true, but there's not strong evidence.

That means we have to face the possibility that each one of us could also get that confused. (Because it is confused. It is not what the person intended in their best thinking moments.) We remain vulnerable to that and we have to accept the possibility that that means each of us individually.

Now, a couple questions. One mini-session and a couple questions. The mini-session is to be around what is the issue on which you could get lost? What's the one you struggle with so much that you might not be able to stay around? There are lots of issues we don't think well on, each of us individually. There are some I don't think well on. I have little ways of watching which ones I don't think well on. My little gimmick is that I watch when my attitude changes drastically without anything actually happening. I haven't had heavy sessions or gotten any new information but things look entirely different today, and then tomorrow it looks the old way again. I know there is something I need to work on before I can have some reliable clarity in those areas. We all have those areas. What's the one that will drive you to the edge—unless you figure out how to work on it and how to get someone committed to helping you work on it, maybe not your day-to-day counselor, maybe once-a-year counselor, but somebody who knows and won't forget, someone who can be a reference point for you on that material? So let's quickly, do a five minute each-way mini-session on that. Where are you in danger from your distress? (Mini-session)

I was reminded by someone during the mini session that one way, if you haye trouble finding the issue on which you could be sent off the deep end, is to look at the issues of an attack on someone else that you would hesitate to jump in front of. There's probably a statistically sound relationship between those two.

The other aspect of this that I wanted to bring up is that we need to ask of others that they will come after us if we get lost. Not just go after someone else, which we need a lot of too, but we must openly recognize how important this project is to each of us. It is more important than what we feel like doing any particular moment. For example, myself, if I get that lost, I would like people to come after me. This project is much more important to me than any distress I might get lost in. I would want you to come after me. I would not be appreciative at that moment. (laughter) I would not be thankful and welcome you. And if I were not, it heightens the probability that you're right in coming after me, that I am mistaken. If I'm upset that you come after me, that's a good indication that I need help and that it is important to me. This project is that important to me that my personal feelings about something must never interfere with this project.

A number of us think close to that. I don't know if we've been able to push ourselves to really feel that committed and how important this is, but we need to. We need to openly make it that important in front of each other and ask each other, "Will you come after me if I get in trouble?" People do get in trouble, and we haven't figured out how to go after them. We need to do that for each other, any time someone gets that confused. If we need to work on our distresses as we run after them, we do that. We need to handle whatever they have to throw out as we attempt to handle it. It doesn't mean we'll be successful all the time, but we need to have that commitment to each other.

I want to go back and recapitulate on attacks, a few things. I want to say again, attacks are always mistaken, always. You do not need to stop and figure out whether this is a "correct attack." It is an attack and therefore incorrect and is to be interrupted. Any possible issues are to be decided after the attack is interrupted, not during. It is important that we again recognize our commitment to what we're trying to do, that we take this stand very quickly and readily, no matter how hard it is, and that we not let our sympathetic restimulations slow us down. We do not allow anyone the option of attacking someone. You have the option of giving up that behavior or you have the option of not being part of this Community, and that's your choice. You do not get to choose whether or not to attack as a member of the Community. That is unacceptable in the RC Community. Do whatever it takes for you to say that, as fast as you can. It needs to be said loudly and clearly and often; probably for a while, so that it becomes understood. We are trying to figure this out and remove it from being a perpetual blight on our functioning, and we are just understanding it well enough to do that. I don't think we should hesitate in making those moves. 



















Last modified: 2023-04-15 09:24:12+00